Let’s look at the age old question, “Why does my beard itch?” One of the most common reasons those who have tried out a beard don’t keep it is the itch. So, why does it happen and how can we fix it? Not all itches are created equal, so let’s look at them separately.
New Growth Itch
New growth itch is the unrelenting itchiness that hits sometime between week one and three, depending on you hair growth rate. Countless times I’ve heard something to the effect of, “I just have to make it past this stage and I’ll be fine.” This initial itchiness is the result of your hair pushing through your skin. Your skin likes to be moisturized and unperturbed. Growing a beard, at least at the outset, upsets both.
The last time you shaved, your razor cut diagonally across your hair, which leaves a sharp point. As you approach your 5 o’clock shadow those little spears are pushing through your skin and actually lifting your skin cells up ever so slightly. As your 5 o’clock shadow grows and evolves it is now protruding beyond your skin, resulting in two different effects. First, the follicles continue to lift up and irritate your skin and second, it robs your skin of moisture. You now have minute perforations (around the base of the hair follicle) which make it harder for your skin to retain moisture.
What to do?
Don’t just grin and bear it! Even though you may not think you have enough of a beard to need beard products, YOU DO! By applying our beard oil or balm you will address both irritants. The jojoba in our beard oils and balms will soften the hair follicle, making soft and pliable and less like a spear. The jojoba will also moisturize the skin. As mentioned in an earlier post, jojoba oil is very similar to the oils our body produces naturally, making it very easy for our skin to absorb. If the itch is unrelenting, use our beard balm. Take advantage of the moisturizing effects of Shea and cocoa butter. I would suggest going with Lion’s Mane or Alpinist, both these aromas have a natural soothing and cooling effect that will provide near-instant relief.
Old Growth Itch
Old growth itch is the itch all bearded men get at one time or another. Even though we feel we’re well beyond the new beard stage, the problem is still the same: moisture. Everyone’s body produces oils at different rates, so not everyone experiences old growth itch under the same conditions. Some only experience it in the dead of an Upper Midwest winter where the temperature and humidity are low, for others (myself included) this happens much more often.
What to do?
The key is moisturizing the skin. Remember, healthy skin = healthy beard. The antidote? Our beard oil and balm, but the casual application of oil and balm is not enough. It is not your beard hair that itches, it is the skin, so you will need to massage the oil and balm into the skin. For maximum effect, apply beard oil after your shower when your beard is damp but not wet. This is when your pores are most receptive and most able to readily absorb the oil. It may seem redundant, but I immediately chase an oil application with beard balm. The concentration of jojoba oil in beard oil is much higher, and so applying this first delivers a healthy dose of moisture (along with essential oils) to the upper layers of the dermis, but the cocoa and Shea butter in balm provide long-term moisture. Think of it like fuel for exercise: You need carbs for the short energy burst and protein for long-term energy storage.
Regardless of why your beard itches, know that it doesn’t have to be this way! Whether your growing a new beard or not, we have a product that can help you. Keep that skin moisturized and live handsome! Have a specific problem? Shoot us a message. We’re not doctors, but we’ll help as best we can.